Suspend Judge John Hlophe immediately – FUL

JCT report sets a valuable example for the guidance of everyone concerned with judicial integrity

Judicial Conduct Tribunal report on gross misconduct by Judge John Hlope

11 April 2021

Freedom Under Law is sure that all who are serious about the Rule of Law welcome the report of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal that Judge John Hlophe, judge president of the Western Cape High Court, is guilty of gross misconduct. 

It also notes with admiration the Tribunal’s clear and comprehensive report, identifying the respects in which they found Judge Hlophe guilty. The report not only makes plain and explains what the Tribunal concluded Judge Hlophe had done, but sets a valuable example for the guidance of everyone concerned with judicial integrity.

In condemning this conduct in ringing and unambiguous language, the Tribunal has finally put an end to thirteen years of denial, obfuscation and delay. This fully endorses the complaint laid by the justices of the Constitutional Court in 2008 and vindicates their integrity. Judge Hlophe’s conduct in privately calling on two justices and trying to influence their judgment in cases involving Mr Jacob Zuma was grossly improper. So, too, was his vilification of Chief Justice Langa and Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke.

The Tribunal’s decision also vindicates Freedom Under Law’s intervention without which the complaint would have been buried by the Judicial Service Commission a decade ago. Of course, we could never have done this without the outstanding pro bono service of our legal advisers. 

We trust the Judicial Service Commission will now get on with the further disciplinary steps without delay, and believe that Judge Hlophe should be suspended forthwith.

Issued by Johann Kriegler, Chair, Freedom Under Law, 11 April 2021